Unembedded: Reality from the Iraqi Theater


http://unumbedded.netIt is always nice to assess the price that one is paying for whatever it is that one is purchasing. Unembedded is a good site with which one may assess part of the toll being paid in Iraq.

Whether the toll being paid is a fair price remains debatable only because few are aware of the price depicted in these photos.

It’s Unanimous: Bush is Clueless

Book Says Bush Ignored Urgent Warning on Iraq – New York Times

That is the assessment of every single official who has served with the man, and every single official who is still serving the man. The accounts are unanimous in their documentation of ignorance, of the sacrificing of reason and prudence at the altar of ideology and of absolute incompetence in waging war. The accounts are not fabricated by bogeymen, or political enemies. They are delivered by the participants themselves: Powell, O’Neil, Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and all the other cast members of this ship of fools.

On the eve of escalation, therefore, it is perhaps a good idea to remember the most definitive documentation of GOP incompetence in waging a useless war.

How can an organization be so hare-brained that its members routinely contradict each other and themselves? That they cannot keep a single secret. That they are undermined by any rational person that good fortune places in their paths?

How is it that anyone agrees to board the ship when the crew advertises its incompetence so proudly?

It is good to live without fear, but it is tragic to live without reason. Titanic was sunk by an iceberg that crossed its path unexpectedly. Heaven help the passengers on the ship whose crew are steering directly toward the iceberg.

Clint Eastwood is Steven Spielberg’s Bitch

This movie review of Letters from Iwo Jima is not going to be your typical review.

Much to my dismay, Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima turned out to be little more than another war propaganda movie. Infantilized, stylized and ultra-adrenalized for maximum emotional effect, the movie had the sole effect of evoking pity for the inferior Japanese whose pathetic technology, ignorant culture and inadequate production capability were no match for the superior America whose soldiers apparently meted justice randomly.

The critical response is puzzling, therefore. Every one of the presumptive adults who reviewed this movie is in awe of the cultural magnitude of what they call Eastwood’s great achievement. Much like The Flags of Our Fathers, Letters is another propaganda movie about how wonderful war against an evil enemy is, and everyone, it seems, is gullible enough to fall for the cultural gimmick and avoid or deliberately overlook the explicit propaganda of the movie altogether.

The movie’s appeal to the Japanese is not surprising at all, of course, because that country has cultivated a victim’s perspective with respect to World War II ever since it succumbed to the brutality of the atomic bombs. Letters projects an image that the Japanese wish to project these days. The movie mocks the “samurai way” of honorable death, even though the idea still persists pervasively in Japanese society. The movie portrays Japanese society as civil, though repressed, and the Japanese people as victims of the emperor, much like Japan’s enemies. Of course, the emperor remains in Japan, and his offspring are celebrities. So, this portrayal of victimhood is a false image that Japan projects for its own benefit and to the consternation of the Chinese and the Koreans who have yet to receive acknowledgment of atrocities from Japan.

So, why would Clint Eastwood make a propaganda movie? Why would a man who has made so many sophisticated movies resort to making a movie that insists on tying America’s greatness to a single event: World War II? The only salient answer is that he is simply the latest to cash in on the redemptive value of World War II. In a time when the US is involved in its second worthless, meaningless war in the middle east and its greatest blunder since Vietnam, people are desperate for redemption. At at a time of low national morale, people are desperate to see scenes that depict America as a great nation, a savior nation, a generous nation, a kind nation.

People also like violence that appears not gratuitous. Spielberg proved this with Schinlder’s List and Saving Private Ryan. It is only natural, then, that Eastwood would use the cloak of redemption to make a propaganda movie energized with graphic and realistic violence for the desperate masses.

So, yes, if you want to be manipulated into thinking how wonderful war is and how wonderful it is that the US won WW II, then see this movie. It will make you cry. It will make you sad, and it will make you forget what a wretched situation the US has created in Iraq. In as much, Letters from Iw Jima will make you feel good. That’s what good propaganda does.

But, Eastwood is older than Spielberg. He could have made a more sophisticated movie.

Military Officers Criticize Rumsfeld. What a Surprise.

USATODAY.com – Retired military officers criticize Rumsfeld at Democratic hearing

It is good to remember the above USA Today article from September because John McCain decided to remember his military roots today. Yes, after being civil toward Donald Rumsefeld–the petty bureaucrat who singlehandedly assured failure in Iraq by micromanaging the war–for many years, McCain finally remembers that it was the micromanagement of stupid men like Rumsfeld that made a war hero of McCain, and McCain decided to unleash on Rumsfeld, finally.

It took no less than an army of political advisors to remind McCain of the need for wars to be conducted by warriors. Forget about memory enhancing pills. If you want to remember who you are, hire consultants who will remind you of who you are at the most opportune moment. Unlike McCain, the rest of us might wish to have this reminder right before intercourse. Or, right after.

McCain’s belated fury proves that his “maverick” ways are ultimately part of a political persona constructed meticulously by campaign advisors. In as much, this calculated outburst proves that the campaign consultants that run our political system are as lacking in imagination as the screen writers that churn out the tasteless Hollywood blockbuster movies.

There is, therefore, no wonder that people have become as numb to politics as they have become numb to the Hollywood blockbusters for which they can no longer shell $15 out. Like the last five Bruce Willis movies, the political plot has become bland, predictable and needlessly loud.

First Official Record Uptime

Uptime on February 15, 2007Over 22 days may well be the current record. My lovely 12″ 867 MHz Powerbook has now served me faithfully (even though the factory hard drive did not) for three and one-half years. I cannot justify buying a new Mac because save for occasional speed problems, this baby stays up and running without reboot no matter how much punishment I dish out: working with 20 megabyte data files, compiling hundreds of megabytes of software, closing opening and closing and opening applications over and over, having Microsoft programs (and Apple programs on occasion) crash, installing new software and moving daily between a wired and a wireless networking environment. Never a hitch, never a hickup.

On this day in February 1997, the streak had to end because new operating system updates required a reboot. 🙁